University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I’m studying business administration for a master’s degree at the University of Paderborn and completed a semester abroad at San Diego State University from August to December 2018. I had been planning a semester abroad for a long time, but for various reasons it didn’t work out in the bachelor’s degree. I didn’t want to let this opportunity pass me by in the Master’s. I also didn’t want to be scared of the fact that I traveled alone without knowing anyone there. See jibin123 for best cities to study in Sweden.
The choice for the USA was not difficult for me, since the state of California in particular has always fascinated me.
The whole application process requires a lot of paperwork and effort. Among other things, you need proof of sufficient English language skills, which you can prove by means of a TOEFL test or a DAAD certificate. A learning agreement with your home university is also very important so that the work done abroad can also be credited. In addition, you have to make a personal appointment for a visa interview at the American embassy in order to finally get the visa to get issued. Various fees have to be paid for this appointment and you need financial proof from the bank that you have sufficient funds for the stay abroad. The I-20 form, which you will receive from the university after you have been accepted, is also mandatory.
Whenever questions and problems arose, MicroEdu gave me good support and helped me both by phone and by email. You always had a contact person in Germany. It is also positive that all the application documents are checked by MicroEdu for completeness before they are sent on to the SDSU. This ensures that nothing is really missing and that you have planning security relatively quickly.
Once you have the formalities behind you, you can book the flight and start thinking about accommodation. One day before my flight I wrote my last exam of the semester in the sports hall at my home university and the next day I was suddenly in the place I had been dreaming of for months. I arrived in San Diego at night and as I was taking the Uber from the airport to the hostel, I could already see the skyscrapers of California’s second largest city glowing in front of me.
Now it was a question of finding suitable accommodation one week before the semester began. Some organize something in advance from Germany, while others first go to a hostel/hotel/Airbnb and look for a place to stay for the semester on site. I chose the latter and booked Lucky D’s Hostel for my first few days, which is centrally located downtown. There I met some students who were also looking for accommodation. From then on we went looking together and had many house and apartment viewings. We then decided on a house in the college area because we wanted to live close to the university. I was also very lucky with my roommates,
The university looks very impressive, with all the palm trees even more reminiscent of a vacation spot. On campus is the Viejas Arena, where the university basketball team plays their home games. As a student at the university, you can get tickets for the games for free. Otherwise there are many concerts by well-known singers. The CalCoast Theater also occasionally hosts concerts. The football games take place in the more than 71,000 spectator SDCCU Stadium. As a student of the university, you also get free tickets for this. During the semester there were also concerts, such as by Jay-Z and Beyonce.
The university also has a large and modern gym, a bowling center and the Aquaplex on campus. All these offers can be used free of charge.
If you want to have some peace and quiet, you can relax at the koi carp pond with small turtles.
You won’t find a canteen like you know from Germany here. Instead, there are numerous fast food restaurants and cafés in and around the university, such as Panda Express, Subway, Starbucks, Jack in the Box, The Habit and many more. I had heard about it before but was amazed nonetheless.
As a master’s student, you can take nine units, which corresponds to three courses. Each additional course will cost you about $900-$1000 more. You have to choose one of the courses in advance online in Germany. The remaining courses are selected online on a specific day, one week before the start of the lecture period. It is important to be sitting in front of the laptop at exactly 12: 00 a.m. on this day, since the business courses in particular fill up extremely quickly and the servers are quickly overloaded. In addition, American students are given preferential treatment, so that you may only have the hope of getting into your desired courses via the waiting list.
The courses were more complex than in Germany due to the many intermediate exams, tests, presentations, oral participation and homework, but the level was somewhat lower. In addition, due to the many intermediate achievements, there was no classic exam phase at the end of the semester, which is about “all or nothing”, as we know it from Germany.
Entrepreneurship (MGT 724), Prof. Sloan
I had already chosen the “Entrepreneurship” course with Michael Sloan in Germany. Here you had to give a lot of presentations and do homework in a group. You had to come up with innovative products that are not yet on the market and convince the Prof. of them. We felt like we had to give a presentation every week in this module. There were also some case study tests that we had to read beforehand as homework. Nevertheless, I can recommend the module because the professor tried to make the lessons interesting and revealed a lot of interesting things from his life as a company founder.
Seminar in World Business Environment (MGT 710), Prof. Zhou
The second module I had was “Seminar in World Business Environment” with Lily Zhou. The professor was very nice and always made an effort. In the first half of the lecture, each student had to present news from around the world and together they tried to find solutions to prevailing problems. The second part of the lecture was about running a fictitious consulting company. The course was divided into different areas such as marketing, finance or operations research. Together they tried to advise companies and help them with various problems. During the semester there were also many guest speakers who had more or less interesting things to tell.
Financial & Management Accounting (BA 625), Prof. Krivogorsky
My third module was “Financial & Management Accounting” with Victoria Krivogorsky. As the name suggests, this was about accounting. The course was first about the theory and then you had time to solve tasks, which were then discussed together. In the course we had a total of 4 exams and homework for each chapter. Here, too, the professor was very nice and helped with questions.
In your free time you have numerous opportunities and it is almost impossible for you to get bored. Due to the outstanding weather (over 300 days of sunshine a year), the beaches such as Pacific Beach, Mission Beach etc. are ideal for swimming or surfing. The island of Coronado also has a very beautiful and well-kept beach and on the beaches of La Jolla you can see a lot of sea lions. On Tuesdays you can use Taco Tuesday, especially on Pacific Beach. The restaurants sell tacos for a dollar and in the evenings you can party in the bars and clubs on the beach. At the university there is a Farmer’s Market every Thursday, where you can try food from all over the world.
On the weekends, head to Downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter to party. There are numerous bars and clubs there, some of which also host famous singers or DJs such as Steve Aoki, Robin Schulz or Nelly.
Aside from partying, Little Italy, Seaport Village, and Old Town are also worth visiting. For shopping you can go to the Fashion Valley or the Outlet Las Americas to buy branded clothes comparatively cheaply.
In the city there is also a large zoo and Sea World. If that’s too boring for you, you can try out some weapons on the Gun Range. The proximity to Mexico (Tijuana) is also worth mentioning and Los Angeles, the nearest major city, is only two and a half hours away by car.
In general, many cool road trips can be organized due to the location of San Diego. We drove to Los Angeles and from there via Highway 1 (be sure to take this beautiful route!) to San Francisco. On the way back you can still go to Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park (with its huge redwoods) or Death Valley. We have also made several trips to Las Vegas, Arizona to the Grand Canyon/Horseshoe Bend and Bryce Canyon in Utah. We used the Thanksgiving days off to fly to Florida. There we drove via Orlando to Miami and all the way down to Key West. I also stayed in the US for a while at the end of the semester, traveling to New York City and Seattle.
In summary, I can say that the semester abroad was the best time of my life. Living in California for an extended period of time is very different from vacationing there. You experienced a lot, met new people and gained a lot of experience. It has also helped me in terms of independence, as you have to find your way around in a foreign country with a different language and new people. The people there are very nice and helpful and what is special about the city of San Diego is that it is relatively relaxed there, even though it is a metropolis of millions.
I can only advise you to enjoy every second there, because unfortunately the semester goes by faster than you think.